Climate Emergency resolution is on its way back to Muskoka District Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MUSKOKA – Climate Action Muskoka’s (CAM) ambitious Climate Emergency resolution is on its way back to Muskoka District Council as part of the District’s A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy after the report received unanimous support from the District Community and Planning Services committee (CPSC) at its meeting Thursday.

“This is a bold climate framework for Muskoka with timelines, goals and broad community input. It acknowledges the important role both the District of Muskoka and the community must play together to address the mounting climate crisis,” said Sue McKenzie, co-founder of CAM after the meeting. 

The report, developed by Kevin Boyle, the District’s Climate Change Initiatives Co-ordinator, Christy Doyle, Director of Environmental and Watershed Programs, and the MCCAP Steering committee includes the detailed Muskoka Corporate Climate Action Plan (MCCAP).

Committee chair, councillor Nancy Alcock, suggested that staff needs to hold Council’s feet to the fire to ensure the strategy is implemented.

“This isn’t us holding Council’s feet to the fire,” responded Boyle. “This is everybody holding everybody’s feet to the fire. This is a co-ordinated effort that crosses all departments in the District. This is Council holding staff’s feet to the fire, community groups holding staff and Council’s feet to the fire. It’s the Watershed Council and Climate Action Muskoka. It’s a unified approach that means we move these actions forward.”

Councillors expressed enthusiasm about the possibility of taking the climate strategy back to their area municipal councils.

“!’m so amazed to see how quickly this morphed from a plan into a strategy,” said councillor Mike Peppard. “I very much look forward to seeing how this can go to the area municipalities and how we can work with this plan instead of reinventing the wheel.”

A New Leaf: Muskoka’s Climate Strategy will come before Muskoka District Council on Monday, December 21 for a final vote.

CAM invites citizens, groups and businesses to join its community-wide project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030.  Sign up to take the 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge. https://www.climateactionmuskoka.org/

Climate Action Muskoka is an inclusive, non-partisan group of citizens concerned about climate change in Muskoka who believe in working together to inspire individuals, groups, and every level of government to make the dramatic changes needed to meet this historic climate challenge.

Sue McKenzie for CAM

Watered Down Climate Emergency Declaration Passed By District — CAM Expresses Disappointment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MUSKOKA – On Monday October 19, 2020, the District Council of Muskoka unanimously passed a watered-down Climate Emergency Declaration.  The resolution passed was not the same resolution put forward by Climate Action Muskoka (CAM).

Although Melinda Zytaruk made an extensive presentation to Council on behalf of CAM, the resolution finally voted on was a weakened, rewritten motion put up to replace the stronger CAM resolution, despite the fact that many councillors had previously declared they were unwilling to pass a resolution that was meaningless.

“It constitutes a mere token declaration with no ‘teeth’, no goals, no community input, no plan, in short, nothing to hold the District of Muskoka to addressing the mounting climate crisis,” said Sue McKenzie, co-founder of CAM after the meeting.  

“Declaring there is a climate emergency with no commitments attached is like saying the earth is round or photosynthesis happens,” Zytaruk added.

The motion to pass the CAM Resolution received strong support from a number of councillors. Mover of the motion Councillor Peppard spoke of the need to have firm targets and seconder Councillor Alcock urged the council to see the merit in viewing all decision-making through a climate lens. Councillor Glover said he intended to take a similar resolution to Lake of Bays Council.

“I think it’s extremely important that we recognize that the climate situation actually IS an emergency because of the scale of challenge in front of us,” said Councillor Koetzier. He spoke ardently of the need to take real action now pointing out that the Township of Georgian Bay declared a climate emergency early in 2020.

Others applauded the collaborative work done by CAM with District staff, the Muskoka Watershed Council and councillors to develop the resolution. Chair John Klink recognized the work done to achieve widespread community endorsement.

McKenzie pointed out that the CAM resolution was shelved along with its action items:  to develop a Community Action Plan (CAP); to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030, reaching zero by 2050; to support a diverse Community Working Group to provide input and review to the CAP; to collaborate with other parties to develop standards and protocols in line with climate mitigation.

“The bottom line is that the councillors who did NOT support a Climate Emergency resolution with real goals and actions built in, procedurally out-manouevred those councillors who wanted to see the District take real action,” according to McKenzie.

“Of course, our CAM members are profoundly disappointed after working collaboratively for a year to bring a strong resolution to Council,” McKenzie declared. “The District has missed this opportunity to move forward with the community and has placed the responsibility for developing their corporate and community Climate Action plans back in the hands of their staff.  It is our hope the staff will include the substantial action items we have been discussing with them.”

CAM will continue working with and in the community to educate and encourage citizens, businesses and groups to take up the challenge of addressing the climate crisis and the need to take urgent action.

Last week CAM launched it new project 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge where individuals and households can pledge to reduce their carbon footprint 8% a year to reach the goal of a 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. https://www.climateactionmuskoka.org/

Climate Action Muskoka is an inclusive, non-partisan group of citizens concerned about climate change in Muskoka who believe in working together to inspire individuals, groups, and every level of government to make the dramatic changes needed to meet this historic climate challenge.

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Sue McKenzie for CAM

Climate Emergency – Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2020

MUSKOKA – Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) will be presenting its Climate Emergency Declaration resolution to Muskoka District Council Monday, October 19 at 3 pm. CAM member Melinda Zytaruk will delegate digitally on behalf of CAM to the Council, after which a vote to declare a Climate Emergency will take place.

“The community first called for the District to declare a Climate Emergency last September during the Global Climate strike” says Sue McKenzie. “This declaration is vital to setting Muskoka on a speedy decarbonization of our community to help keep global heating to 1.5C.”

Endorsements of the resolution have come in from community leaders, businesses, groups and individuals. CAM invites everyone to visit its website this week to view the list of endorsements and to add your name, business or group here: https://www.climateactionmuskoka.org/endorsements-declaration-of-climate-emergency/

CAM is also launching its 50% by 2030 Community Carbon Challenge this weekend inviting the Muskoka community to match the same reduction of greenhouse gas goals being asked of the District of Muskoka. You can read about that and join the challenge on the website climateactionmuskoka.org.

CAM is an inclusive, non-partisan group of citizens concerned about climate change in Muskoka.

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Sue McKenzie for Climate Action Muskoka

647 884-1531

Live interviews with CAM members

You won’t want to miss these three interviews as our neighbors in Haliburton reach out to hear about Climate Action in Muskoka and the Ontario Green Party leader reaches out to our own resident expert to learn more about building green. Great job Sue, Linda, Tamsen and Melinda.


No Planet “B” Webinar – September 25, 202o – on you tube
hosted by Environment Haliburton!
Panelists: Muskoka Watershed Council member Peter Sale, CAM member Sue McKenzie, and Terry Moore discuss the climate crisis and activism in Muskoka


PLANET HALIBURTON – EPISODE 74 – SEP 25, 2020
BY: TERRY MOORE | CANOE FM
“On this PH episode we explore local climate change planning activism with two representatives of Climate Action Muskoka (CAM), Linda Mathers and Tamsen Tillson


Build Back Greener: Live with Mike – Sept 24, 2020 – on you tube
Melinda Zytaruk, CAM member and community power expert, chats with Mike Schreiner about how we can #BuildBackGreener and create new opportunities for women in trades.


Announcing Building Back Better

New Muskoka Region column from Climate Action Muskoka

Two views of a sustainably built home in Muskoka, with wood, earth plaster, LED lighting and "truth window." .

We’re proud to announce that a regular column entitled Building Back Better will soon be premiering in Muskoka Region. This series, organized by Climate Action Muskoka, envisions a just, climate-sensitive, post-pandemic recovery, with a focus on Muskoka; but also exploring broader topics like the need for a living wage, the benefits of growing our own food, the importance of ensuring that our buildings are built sustainably, and more. The contributors are supporters of Climate Action Muskoka.

The photos above accompany a column from Melinda Zytaruk and Matthew Adams about sustainable buildings. These images feature a local straw bale home and highlight the wood, earth plaster, LED lighting and, at the back of the image on the right, a “truth window” revealing the straw with which this home was built. [Photo credit: Riley Snelling.]

We’ll also be sharing these columns on our website and social media. Please keep an eye out for them. And note that we’ve taken care to include links to the resources the writers draw from, so you can continue to read up. Kudos to the writers who have already contributed and to the ad hoc editorial board at Climate Action Muskoka for their hard work. And also, hats off to Muskoka Region for supporting this important grassroots initiative. 👏

If you are interested in being a contributor, please contact us at climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com.

Just in Case You’re Feeling Alone…

Climate strikes continue weekly on Fridays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm in Huntsville, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst. Friday March 6 will mark week 24 for Bracebridge, week seven for Gravenhurst and week five for Huntsville.

Muskoka is a just a small community, but remember that we are climate striking in solidarity with millions worldwide. Don’t believe it?

Here are the communities where weekly climate strikes are happening in our part of Ontario, from the FridaysforFuture.ca website. (These maps are current as of March 5, 2020)
…And here’s where weekly climate strikes are happening worldwide.

Never forget that YOU are part of an important global movement!

I don’t know about you, but I am proud that Climate Action Muskoka is a part of that.

Look up the map for yourself and see how many worldwide are calling for climate action. https://fridaysforfuture.ca/event-map/

#climatestrikebracebridge #climatestrikegravenhurst #climatestrikehuntsville #fridaysforfuture #muskoka

Making Progress

Our ad-hoc steering committee held its third meeting on Sunday February 2nd. It’s great to hear the ideas and progress that each sub-committee is making in determining its roles and objectives.

The committee list is below. Absent members are not named. Please contact us if you would like to help out with a sub-committee or share your thoughts, ideas and resources. Email climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com, with the name of the sub-committee in the subject line.

Group of about 20 people sitting in circle.
We’re all ears!

Communications: Bet, Sheryl, Tamsen and Steve
Presenting to Counci and Endorsements: Sue, Len, Diana and Linda
Transportation: Arleigh, Robin and Gord
Waste, Food and Agriculture: Amy, Celine, Christine, Lesley, Susan and Trisha

Built Infrastructure is headed up by Melinda, who was unable to attend.

Water is headed up by Erin, also absent.

We look forward to telling you more soon.

Invitation to Participate in Climate Action Muskoka

For Immediate Release
January 20, 2020

MUSKOKA — The group Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) is inviting everyone in Muskoka concerned about climate change to get involved.

Inspired by student climate demonstrators in Muskoka and worldwide this past September, CAM is an inclusive, non-partisan group of Muskoka-based citizens with a shared commitment to working together to face the climate crisis.

The group’s broad mandate is to provide community support and work with municipalities to build a more resilient community as Muskoka transitions to a post-carbon future. The group will hold its 18th weekly climate strike in Bracebridge this Friday to raise awareness of the urgency of the issue.

Earlier this month an informal steering committee of about 24 CAM participants held its second meeting to get more specific about what urgent climate action in Muskoka might look like.

Attendees at our January 12 meeting.
Attendees at our January meeting.

“The scope of this crisis can feel overwhelming, and it’s so easy to just tune it out or to worry in isolation,” said Sue McKenzie of Gravenhurst. “But having been at these climate strikes, and seeing the expertise and the momentum in the room at our meetings, it’s clear to me that there’s a whole lot we can do. It’s truly heartening.”

The group plans to approach the District of Muskoka and its six Towns and Townships to support the push for a Climate Emergency declaration. More than a symbolic gesture, a Climate Emergency declaration is a formal acknowledgement of the seriousness of the climate crisis. It includes a commitment by the community to invest in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to prioritize community resiliency while doing so. As of October, more than 460 municipal, provincial, and territorial governments across Canada have declared a Climate Emergency.

The group has agreed to form sub-committees to set additional goals and plan actions in the following areas:

  • Waste
  • Transportation
  • Food Security
  • Building
  • Water
  • Communications
  • Developing presentations to area councils
  • Gathering community endorsements for the Climate Emergency declaration

If you are interested in working with the group in one or more of these areas or just want further information, please email us at: climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com. State in the subject line which
committee you are interested in.

CAM’s regular Fridays For Future climate strikes continue at Bracebridge Memorial Park from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on Fridays. The group is expanding the weekly strikes to Gravenhurst starting this Friday, January 24th at the Post Office from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. Other Muskoka communities are to follow.

Visit us online at www.climateactionmuskoka.org. We’re also on Facebook and Instagram @climateactionmuskoka.

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Sue McKenzie | lensue@hotmail.com | 647-884-1531
Tamsen Tillson | tamsentillson@gmail.com | 705-645-5225

Weekly Climate Strikes begin in Gravenhurst

Let’s do this! In addition to Bracebridge, we’re going to start weekly climate strikes in Gravenhurst, starting this Friday! #climatestrike #gravenhurst #climateactionmuskoka

Climate Action Muskoka is expanding its weekly Fridays For Future Climate Strikes (#FFF) to Gravenhurst starting this Friday, Jan 24th, 2020, from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm at the Post Office, located at the intersection of Muskoka Rd. N. and Bay Street.

Bring a sign if you can. If not, we can find you one. Come out and meet new friends who are as concerned as you! Bring a friend or family member! Sue and Len will be there every Friday from now on, same time, same location! If you want further info, please contact her directly. If you don’t have her email, reach her through us at climateactionmuskoka@gmail.com.

Please carpool if you can.

And if you’d like to start up another weekly climate strike in Muskoka, you can coordinate through us.

#actnow #strongertogether

Christmas Holiday Climate Strike

If you are one of the many concerned about climate change who have been unable to climate strike because of work, the Christmas holidays are a prime opportunity to join us.

Hi everyone, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas. This is a reminder that we are indeed climate striking today: 11:30am to 12:30pm at Memorial Park in Bracebridge.

Off work for the Christmas holiday? Come on out!

If you are one of the many concerned about climate change who have been unable to climate strike because of work, the Christmas holidays are a prime opportunity to join us.

Come and get your family engaged in climate action, or, take some thoughtful time away from the holiday craziness to meet with some like-minded people.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. We climate strike at Memorial Park in Bracebridge every Friday from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm; and that includes next Friday, January 3rd. Bring your signs. Bring your family and friends. We hope to see you there!

Recommended Read of the Week

The False Promise of Green Housing: One designer is challenging the conventional wisdom about environmentally friendly construction. ~ By Viviane Fairbank. From The Walrus, November 2019.

This is a paradigm-shifter on the building industry and features the work and insights of Chris Magwood , who recently presented at Muskoka Watershed Council; and Melinda Zytaruk of Fourth Pig Worker Co-op , (Local! Part of this group!)

Inspirational Quote of the Week

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu